George Crumb

(b.1929)

mode 170

Black Angels; Makrokosmos III: Music For A Summer Evening

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mode 170 George CRUMB: Black Angels and Makrokosmos III – Two classic Crumb compositions of the 1970s expertly performed by members of The Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic under the direction of conductor Juan Pablo Izquierdo.

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Black Angels; Makrokosmos III: Music For A Summer Evening
Makrokosmos III scored for 2 pianos and 2 percussion, performed here by 2 pianos, 4 percussion, and voice/slide whistle/recorder; Black angels originally for amplified string quartet, arr. by Juan Pablo Izquierdo for string quartet, 4 percussion, 4 vocalists, and string orchestra. Streaming audio. Luz Manríquez, Walter Morales, piano ; Nena Lorenz, Brian Spurgeon, Michael Passaris, Mark Shope, percussion ; Andrés Cladera, voice, slide whistle, recorder ; Douglas Ahlstedt, Evgeny Operdelennov, voice ; Cuarteto Latinoamericano (Saúl Bitrán, Arón Bitrán, violin ; Javier Montiel, viola ; Alvaro Bitrán, violoncello) ; members of the Carnegie Mellon Philhamonic ; Juan Pablo Izquierdo, voice, conductor. Recorded at Carnegie Mellon School of Music Oct.-Nov. 2002 (Black angels), Feb.-Apr. 2003 (Makrokosmos III). Previously released as a compact disc.

Makrokosmos III: Music for a Summer Evening   (1974)   (32:01)
for 2 amplified pianos and percussion
Nocturnal Sounds (The Awakening)  (5:21)
Wanderer-Fantasy  (4:52)
The Advent  (7:17)
Myth  (4:04)
Music of the Starry Night  (10:26)
Luz Manríquez, Walter Morales, pianos
Nena Lorenz, Brian Spurgeon, Michael Passaris, Mark Shope, percussion
Andrés Cladera, voices, whistle, slide whistle, recorder
Juan Pablo Izquierdo, conductor

Black Angels: Thirteen Images from the Dark Land  (1970)   (17:57)
arranged for string quartet and string orchestra by Juan Pablo Izquierdo
with the permission of the composer
Night of the Electric Insects  (1:29)
Sounds of Bones and Flutes  (0:39)
Lost Bells  (0:47)
Devil Music  (1:41)
Danse Macabre  (1:01)
Pavana Lachrymae (Der Tod und das Mädchen)  (0:53)
Black Angels  (2:23)
Sarabanda de la Muerte Oscura  (0:52)
Lost Bells (Echo)  (1:52)
God-music  (2:36)
Ancient Voices  (0:36)
Ancient Voices (Echo)  (0:43)
Night of the Electric Insects  (3:03)
Cuarteto Latinoamericano
Members of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic
Juan Pablo Izquierdo, conductor

This CD combines two classic Crumb compositions of the 1970s expertly performed by members of The Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic under the direction of conductor Juan Pablo Izquierdo.

Black Angels for string quartet was written as a response to the Vietnam War. The work draws from an arsenal of sounds including shouting, chanting, whistling, whispering, gongs, maracas, and crystal glasses. The score bears two inscriptions: in tempore belli (in time of war) and “Finished on Friday the Thirteenth, March, 1970”. In its arrangement here by Juan Pablo Izquierdo – with the approval of Crumb – for string quartet with string orchestra, the soundscape of Black Angels becomes all the more powerful and terrifying. The string quartet soloists are the superb Cuarteto Latinoamericano.

Music for a Summer Evening is scored for the classic Bartok combination of two pianos and 2 percussionists, here performing on a vast array of instruments. The pianists are also required to use extended techniques and preparations, which together with the percussion, create a unique sound world. In an effort to achieve greater clarity and precision, Juan Pablo Izquierdo chose not only to conduct Music for a Summer Evening, but also to divide the percussion parts amongst four players. The superb recording conveys all the details, subtlety, power and magical atmosphere of these works.

Language : The 1st work includes ritualistic counting in French, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Russian, and Swahili.

Reviews

George Crumb
Black Angels and Makrokosmos III

Mode 170

George Crumb’s often performed Music for a Summer Evening revels in its novel sonorities of exotic percussion and amplified pianos. The evocative titles (‘Hymn for the Nativity of the Star Child’), quotations, both literary (Rilke, Pascal) and musical (Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier), and above all, the tempo indications (‘Joyous, ecstatic, with a sense of cosmic time’) suggest an unhurried approach; but here everything seems rushed, particularly in the final ‘Song of Reconciliation’, where even the gradual slackening of pulse indicated in the score goes practically for naught.

Black Angels, on the other hand, is a work of frightening intensity, where Jimi Hendrix and Pierrot Lunaire shake hands with the devil. Composed during the height of the Vietnam War, and ‘finished on Friday the Thirteenth, March 1970 (in tempore belli)’, Crumb’s most celebrated work (which inspired the founding of the Kronos Quartet) was originally scored for amplified string quartet whose players are also required to bow glasses, shake a maraca and at a climax strike a tam-tam. It is presented here in a composer-approved ‘expansion’ for quartet and string orchestra.

Part of the effect of the original, particularly in live performance, comes from watching the players not only negotiate fearsomely difficult effects, such as bowing on the wrong side of the left fingers (creating viol-like tone quality), but also playing their array of percussion instruments and chanting in several languages; that heated atmosphere of intimate frenzy is lost when these labours are divided among a larger group.
— Howard Goldstein, BBC Music Magazine

George Crumb
Black Angels and Makrokosmos III

Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Solistes du Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, Juan Pablo Izquierdo.
Mode 170

Technique: 8.5/10
Belle construction, avec une spatialisation très intéressante des sources, enn largeur comme en profounder. Grande transparence et belle dynamique.

Les deux premiers livres de Makrokosmos avaient été gravés avec success par Toro Can pir L’Empreinte Digitale (Diapason d’or, cf. no 503). Music for a Summer Evening (1974) constitue le troisième volrt d’un cycle qui en compte quatre à ce jour, avec Celestial Mechanics pour piano amplifié à quatre mains. Si la seule nomenclature (deux pianos amplifies et percussions) lance déjà un clin d’oeil appuyé à Bartik, c’est bien l’ensemble du cycle qui s’élève en homage à la plus grande influence que Crumb se reconnaisse, reprenant l’écriture pour percussions où Hongrois l’avait laíssèe dans la célèbre sonate. Ce Makrokosmos III avait déjà été grave chez Bridge, Bis ou Nonesuch, et surtout par l’Ensemble New Art chez Col Legno (Diapason d’or, cf. no 466). Si ces derniers versaïent avec bonheur dans l’épure, en homage au ceremonial mystique conçu par Crumb, la présente version privilégie hédonísme  sonore et expressionnisme, parti pris soulignant l’imaginaire fécond du compositeur (ululements de Wanderer Fantasy, résonances lugubres de The Advent). L’équilibre entre pianos et percussions, privilégiant fréquemment ces dernières, rend ici plus largement justice à l’extraordinaire palette que Crumb avait convoquée sans jamais tomber dans l’anecdotique: quelque soixante-dix instruments différents (cymbals, crotales ou cloches-tubes) au service d’un << drame cosmique >> conjuguant l’énigmatique à l’illustratif.

Quant à Black Angels, Juan Pablo Izquierdo insiste sur le fait que cette nouvelle version pour quatuor, orchestre à cordes, percussions et voix ne constitue pas un << arrangement >>, la musique de Crumb étant simplement distribuée à un effectif plus important. Si l’on peut préférer la version originale pour quatuor,  que nous avoins saluée dans la version du Quatuor Miro (Bridge, Diapason d’or), la présente realization offer une savoureuse amplification des effets, une etonnante diversité de plans sonores (Lost Bells) tout en préservant la densité et la virtuosité instrumentale de la pièce.
— Nicolas Baron, Diapson Magazine, Juin 2007


Links

Also by George CRUMB on Mode Records:
Makrokosmos Books 1 and 2 (mode 142)
5 Pieces for Piano – Margaret Leng Tan, piano (mode 15)
Celestial Mechanics – Pianoduo Degenhardt/Kent (mode 19)
Zeitgeist – Pianduo Degenhardt/Kent (mode 19)

George Crumb Profile
Juan Pablo Izquierdo Profile

George Crumb Online